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The Benefits of Solar PowerOctober 01, 2017
There’s a reason Florida is called the Sunshine State.
So, it’s no surprise that Florida Power & Light has embarked on an ambitious plan to build a network of solar plants across the state. In Southwest Florida, it has collaborated with developer Kitson & Partners to build the Babcock Ranch Energy Center.
The Babcock Ranch Energy Center provides a massive 74.5 megawatts of energy, enough to power the 19,500 homes and 6 million square feet of commercial space when Babcock Ranch is built out. The solar field is located north of the town of Babcock Ranch on land donated by Kitson and is owned and operated by Florida Power. The FPL Babcock Ranch Energy Center will produce so much energy that there will be extra left over to power other areas of Southwest Florida.
But Babcock Ranch is just part of FPL’s ambitious plans to take advantage of Florida’s abundant sunshine. The benefits of solar power will become more evident as the utility’s renewable energy plan expands throughout the state.
FPL’s universal solar-energy centers generate zero-emissions power for all FPL customers using the sun for fuel. Universal solar is the fastest and most cost-effective way to bring more solar to more Floridians.
By early 2018, FPL plans to install 2.5 million panels at eight new solar energy centers located around the state, including Babcock Ranch. Together, the projects will generate an estimated net lifetime savings of more than $39 million for FPL customers.
FPL leads the advancement of affordable clean-energy infrastructure in Florida by reducing emissions while keeping customer bills among the lowest in the nation. In 2016, the utility built three 74.5 megawatt universal solar energy centers, including Babcock Ranch. Each center is capable of generating enough solar to power about 15,000 homes.
And by early 2018, FPL plans to build universal solar energy centers at eight locations adding nearly 600 megawatts of solar generating capacity, enough to power about 120,000 homes with zero-emissions energy. FPL’s solar energy centers are cost-effective, resulting in millions of dollars in net savings to FPL customers over their operational lifetime.
Residential customers aren’t the only ones who benefit. For example, FPL is installing more than 5,000 solar panels that will help power the iconic Daytona International Speedway. The installation will cut an estimated 2,200 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, the equivalent to the emissions from a car driving 2 million laps around the Speedway.
Educational and Charity Benefits
Depending on where you live in Florida, it’s likely that a school or other educational facility like a museum or a zoo near you is producing solar energy now. FPL installed solar photovoltaic systems at more than 100 sites across 23 counties to give students and communities hands-on experience with renewable energy. In addition to education, the energy that the solar panels produce is credited to the school or other demonstration site, saving money on their energy costs.
FPL also has partnered with local Habitat for Humanity chapters and other nonprofits to install solar water heater systems, free of charge, for more than 400 homes built or refurbished for families in need in 14 Florida counties.
For $9 a month, or about 30 cents a day, the FPL SolarNow program is an easy way for Florida residents to support the development of solar energy projects by sharing the construction and operation costs with other program participants. Participants will receive special program offers and discounts from local businesses and attractions who are also committed to advancing the use of clean solar energy in our communities.
In addition, NextEra Energy, FPL’s parent company, will contribute through its charitable foundation (NEE Foundation) a total of $200,000 annually to Florida-based nonprofit organizations dedicated to environmental protection or community development. FPL SolarNow program participants, can help select a nonprofit organization to be a recipient of a portion of NextEra Energy Foundation’s annual contribution.
To find out more about the FPL Babcock Ranch Energy Center and schedule a guided visit, call (941) 235-6900.